This wickedly squirmy two-hander begins with a rundown of dating clichés: men are attracted to flat-bellied women because they’re not brewing up a baby; women play with their hair to waft pheromones around and seek out muscles as a sign that their partner has some skills in the hunting and gathering department. These platitudes make the incisive snatch of twenty-first-century coupling that follows all the more delicious, in its Lynx-spraying, pube-trimming glory.
Laura and Ryan are panic-attacking their way through a second date in Ryan’s scruffy bedroom, negotiating last-minute body odour and genital topiary checks as they fumble their way into bed. Rachel Hirons’s script is as sweet as it is hilarious, smartly skewering the follies of modern mating while crafting a delicate and generous romcom at the same time.
Both Thomas O’Connell and Amy Butterworth are outstanding. O’Connell trembles with perfectly observed neuroses, while Butterworth displays her phenomenal comic skills as she sips her rum and Irn-Bru and contemplates the correct degree of snuggling.
The use of ‘Peep Show’-style voiceovers, together with Edgar Wright-a-like video cutaways, sees ‘A Guide to Second Date Sex’ swerving slightly too close to the land of Channel 4 sitcoms for comfort, but it doesn’t really matter. This is better. Stewart Pringle